José Crespo de Carvalho is currently the President of the Executive Commission of IDEG – ISCTE Executive Education.

With an engineer degree from Instituto Superior Técnico and a PhD in management completed at ISCTE-IUL, he has a vast professional and academic experience – as a consultant, executive and university teacher.

He is also the author of several books, academic papers and case studies about various challenges and opportunities that firms deal with nowadays.


To our interviewee, innovation is a synonym of “revolution; change of essential paradigms!”.


I want to start by saying thank you for being available to share with us your ideas on social economic environment. Having in account your experience:

What tendencies have you witnessed emerging and disappearing? And which ones do you think will still exist in the future?

I continuously read tendencies in several areas every year. And I often write about them to better frame and systematize my ideas.

But usually tendencies aren’t more than the continuity of what has been happening and the extension of aspects that are already taking place.

This is, in fact, a sensitive subject.

I just feel some comfort in reading them but, as a matter of fact, I never see anything truly new in what I read.

This uncovers two essential points: the new tendencies aren’t but affirmations of something already happening and also that it isn’t easy to be predictive regarding the future.

Because the future is in the future.

Furthermore, a lot of what we read ends up not happening, as well, nor be more than an idea that won’t have any practical implications. Bad predictive capabilities… people and the future are always sensitive issues.

To foresee the future isn’t but to build it, using language already worn off.

Having said this, I believe the big “tendencies” (and they should be placed between quotation marks), are a resumption of the analytical thinking’s and capacity of abstraction’s significance, based on this line of thought (that has been numb during the years while we perceived only behavioral aspects were important) and on an increasing use of technology in everything that surrounds us.

From our gadgets (mobile phone, laptop, etc.) to the car we drive, or even the act of shopping, everything is more tech related. But this isn’t really a tendency… It’s a confirmed aspect.

Firms have a direct relationship with clients and those relationships can be more or less successful. What are the main distinctive factors in those relationships?


In a relational logic, maybe there is more openness… Maybe. At least in a conceptual way. And it is talked about. This is because the world is more open-minded. But we are far from a lot of supplier – client collaborating movements that we study and debate about.


Because we are far from confidence.


The society in which we live in, doesn’t supply us enough security for us to feel that confidence. It has to come from the cultural side. Without cultural changes, it gets complicated.

And we know that cultural changes are complex, slow and difficult.

The elements of business analytics/intelligence have been more present each day in society and business.


From your point of view, what impact does data collection (from several sources), its treatment and use have had in our daily life? What is its importance regarding decision making and to the development of new businesses?


The decision isn’t always easier due to having more data analysis.

Having more information can imply having more scenarios. This can make the decision making process more complex instead of making it easier.

However, regarding information, the situation is very different than what it was some years ago.

Usually, more information – when properly managed – results in better decisions.

Usually and in theory.

As for the impact, yes, it has been big, very big. However, as the world gets more complex, in the end of the day we probably won’t make better decisions today than we did a few years ago. Today we all have more information and there are other very well prepared players, in regards to information.

Thus, it isn’t possible to look forward and not want to have more information. We have different environments and also players that are much different and better prepared. Our decision can be abstract, or in theory, better. However, other players’ decisions will also be better. Which will create more demanding scenarios but not always better.

The market game is getting more complex.

If we add a better informed and more demanding consumer… we can’t expect anything else than keep going forward.

To sum up, it does have impact. If the decision is better today than it was a few years ago, it will be.


If the result of this decision has more or a better impact than some years ago… I don’t think so. But it’s an opinion.